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Opinion : The museum is being refurbished

| June 9, 2015


As far as I’m concerned the town of High Wycombe is all about history rather than the present or future.

Let’s face it the powers that be have done their best to destroy the furniture industry that made our town great.

The furniture factories have even been pulled down and housing developers allowed to put up monstrous housing developments in their place.

In truth all our town has left are memories, there’s not much physical remaining of what life was like years ago.

Every so often, during my lunchtime walk around the town centre, yours truly would wander over to Priory Avenue to pay a visit to Wycombe Museum.

I so liked visiting the museum, set in secluded grounds the Grade II listed Castle Hill House is a most suitable setting for the Museum that contains the memories of when Wycombe was great.

In fact you could literally smell the history in the air as you walked around the magnificent galleries showing what Wycombe was like in happier times.

You can therefore understand how terribly disheartening it was to read the article that appeared in the news section of this site a few days ago entitled ‘Wycombe Museum to close temporarily for refurbishment work‘.

Oh dear, I thought, now they’re going to ruin the museum.

Actually the museum closed temporarily to the public yesterday, Monday 8th June 2015, for a few months while the builders move in.

They’re even going to install a lift in the historic building. How many houses with parts dating back to the 16th Century had lifts in them? The ‘access friendly’ culture appears to have gone a step too far.

Sadly the old timers like my good self who want to reminisce about what things were like in their childhood are few and far between these days and history is all about catering for the youngsters and school parties who arrive by coach.

I can still remember my grandfather taking the young Ivor to the Chair museum and explaining how things used to be in Wycombe. Of course back then the furniture factories were still in operation.

The real shame is that the young people of Wycombe will only experience our town’s furniture heritage in a museum. The sight, sound and smell of a real working furniture factory is all but a memory in our town now.

Maybe when the museum re-opens they should move forward a few years and cater for Wycombe’s more recent history?

Perhaps the exhibits could include a reconstruction of the famous Murray’s clock? Or even a mock up of the much loved Frogmoor fountain in the grounds of the museum?

They could even put up some pictures of the old Octagon shopping centre in the 1970’s complete with walkways made of engineering bricks and punks causing trouble in the central part of the shopping centre by the chemist and supermarket.

Another nice exhibit would be a mock up of the magnificent Newlands Bus Station which was cruelly taken from the town when the new shopping complex opened a few years ago.

Anyway, the museum will open in a few months nicely modernised, accessible and designed to give a better experience to the visitors.

When it does re-open my good self may well pay a visit and let you know what it’s like. Or perhaps it would be best not to visit and remember the museum how it was?

What do you think?

*My next blog will be published on Friday evening around 8pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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